Individuals living in New York City can choose from a minimum of 31 different gender identities, many of which allow them to fluctuate between some version or combination of male or female identities.
Businesses that don’t respect and accommodate an individual’s chosen gender identity risk incurring six-figure fines under rules implemented by the city’s Commission on Human Rights.
The list of protected gender identities is available online and includes options such as “gender bender,” “two spirit,” “third sex,” “androgynous,” “gender gifted,” and “pangender.” A city official speaking on background confirmed to The Daily Caller that all of the listed identities are protected by the city’s anti-discrimination laws, but said that the list was not exhaustive.
The city does not provide definitions of the various gender identities, but TheDC was able to define several of them from glossaries provided online by the University of Wisconsin and the University of California Berkeley.
Someone who identifies as “genderqueer,” for example, is a “person whose gender identity is neither man nor woman, is between or beyond genders, or is some combination of genders.”
A “gender bender” is someone “who bends, changes, mixes, or combines society’s gender conventions by expressing elements of masculinity and femininity together.”
Similarly, someone who is “gender fluid” is a person “whose gender identification and presentation shifts, whether within or outside of societal, gender-based expectations.”
If someone self-identifies as “androgynous,” it means they are “appearing and/or identifying as neither man nor woman, presenting a gender either mixed or neutral.”
“Two spirit” individuals are Native Americans “who have attributes of both men and women, have distinct gender and social roles in their tribes, and are often involved with mystical rituals (shamans).”
If someone is “pangender,” their “gender identity is comprised of all or many gender expressions.”
The full list of gender identities can be viewed online in a document provided by the city’s Commission on Human Rights.
The city’s gender identity guidance was issued in December but has been the subject of ongoing media attention in the past week. As noted by law professor Eugene Volokh, businesses can be fined up to six figures for knowingly using the “wrong” pronouns to refer to a customer or employee.
Seth Hoy, the Human Rights Commission’s press secretary, told TheDC that the guidance was issued to “ensure that every transgender individual in New York City is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve” but assured that that “accidentally” using the wrong pronouns “will not result in a fine.” His full statement is below:
The Commission’s legal guidance on gender identity protections under the NYC Human Rights Law addresses situations in which individuals intentionally and repeatedly target transgender and gender non-conforming people. Accidentally misusing a transgender person’s preferred pronoun is not a violation of the law and will not result in a fine. The Commission issued this guidance last year so that employers and individuals understand what the law says and to ensure that every transgender individual in New York City is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.